WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
Ego and ambition vs. compassion and more grounded goals. When caught up in the maelstrom of day to day life, much less career, it might seem easy to find ourselves in a place where nothing else matters except our own needs, our sole focus to find our path to success, no matter what the cost. Yet, it is within this narcissistic realm that we can often find out what really drives us, and what’s truly important in the face of unexpected circumstance. At the Mumbai-based newspaper The Buzz, we find struggling journalist Noor (Sonakshi Sinha), who’s totally unenthused with her life, unlucky in love, and feeling the overwhelming weight of an unfulfilled journey that is her present reality.
Covering stories that mean nothing to her at the behest of The Buzz’s editor-in-chief Shekhar (Manish Chaudhari), Noor’s constant state of upheaval and dissatisfaction begins to bleed more and more over into her personal life, even to the point of effecting her two best friends Saad (Kanan Gill) and Zaara (Shibani Dandekar). Equally stressed at home, having only her cat Dimpy, her aging father, and the housemaid Malti (Smita Tambe) to keep her company, Noor finally decides that just letting loose is the means to happiness. Still not discovering what she’s looking for, she then meets a former CNN photographer/journalist Ayan (Purab Kohli), who sweeps her off her feet, making life look a lot less gloomy.
However, when a new story to cover is provided by Shekhar that would have relevance to Noor’s career, it ends up causing a horrific truth to be revealed that soon begins to negatively impact everyone in Noor’s circle. Added to an unforeseen betrayal, Noor soon finds that her own selfish focus and attitude has a cost, but one she chooses to find redemption from while exposing a dark secret that will shape not only her future, but many others’ as well.
Next, my Mind:
In this contemporary age when fake news and media integrity (or lack of) is at the forefront of many people’s minds around the world, the timing in this release couldn’t have been better for director/co-screenplay writer Sunhil Sippy. Based on the novel by Pakistani author Saba Imtiaz, the film’s themes span a wide range of subject matters with deft precision, while also very much managing to engage a deeply relevant social message. Showcasing the personal level issues being faced by Noor that are initially treated with a whimsical tone, the film soon takes a much more dramatic, even dark, turn as the character finds herself immersed in situations that cause her to make rash choices which have real consequences. Both saving and running people’s lives for the sake of her own pursuits, Noor almost loses total track of her humanity in the process, all in the name of a story. But once that line is crossed, it truly is a potent and realistic portrait of regaining her composure and emotional fortitude as she becomes a crusader, championing the cause of those whose existence she’d just shaken to the core, including her own, as well as a host of others who ultimately benefit from her awakening.
After seeing Sinha in “Naam Hai Akira” busting bad guys with high-flying kicks and teeth-rattling punches, it was a very effective and affecting change to see her flex some comedic and more straightforward dramatic chops as Noor, a young woman in the midst of an early mid-life crisis whose sole goal is to find that place of utter bliss and satisfaction in life, career, and love, even as she’s knocked down at every turn. Once blind ambition takes over, though, and even as certain elements in her sphere start improving, she learns hard lessons, causing self judgement and crippling doubt. But, rising above this and finally seeing a true meaning to what she’s capable of doing, watching the character’s victorious efforts is inspiring and heartfelt thanks to Sinha’s wonderful performance and down-to-earth demeanor. Great support is provided here from Chaudhari as Noor’s hard-nosed boss Shekhar, whose actual desire to see Noor succeed sometimes gets overshadowed by his annoyance with her antics, Gill and Dandekar as Noor’s somewhat long-suffering best pals Saad and Taara, who so greatly desire to do what it takes to see her happy, Kohli as the suave but two-faced journalist Ayan who initially captures Noor’s heart, and Tambe whose housemaid Malti plays a powerfully key role in the proceedings. Sunny is, well, Sunny!
In total, with its pertinent themes of self-image, success, thinking of others before ourselves, and overall perspective on life reflecting our modern times while infusing gleefully comedic and compellingly dramatic tones and moods via its well-written narrative, “Noor” is a finely tuned example of more independent-minded Bollywood cinema that this reviewer very much hopes catches on with the audiences who tend to crave the larger mainstream efforts and potentially shy away from projects like this that are actually the bastion of character and story-driven filmmaking. It is this style of execution that likewise give actors an even bigger chance to illustrate their talent and present the contemplative air that is honestly lacking in an entertainment arena sorely in need of some deeper, but still entertaining, material.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!